So, what really happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?
Over the past ten days, the very public back and forth between Conor McGregor and the UFC has seen media interest in the world of MMA reach heights that previously would have seemed unfathomable.
Writing in The Irish Times on Saturday, Keith Duggan put it perfectly as he wrote;
Like golf and Tiger Woods at a certain time, there is now McGregor and then there is the rest.
It couldn’t be said better. The UFC have now set their stall out with regard to their massively anticipated July the 9th event. McGregor will not be competing and that’s that. But with the interest in Conor arguably now greater than the rest of the roster combined, why should the Irish fighter even care?
What exactly is 200 other than a round number? Of what relevance is it to anyone other than the promotion itself?
When Rafael Dos Anjos pulled out of UFC 196 due to injury, it was announced that McGregor would instead face Nate Diaz at welterweight in the main event.
Initially, some criticized the match up stating that the fight was irrelevant as there was no belt on the line and neither fighters would be competing in the 170 lbs division moving forward. Responding to the criticism, McGregor reminded everyone of the only thing that really mattered. He would be there.
“It doesn’t matter what weight division or what belt is on the line because really, I should create my own belt. I myself am my own belt. It doesn’t matter if it’s featherweight, lightweight, welterweight. It’s the McGregor belt.”
He was right. Speaking after UFC 196, Dana White stated that the event had set a new record as the most-purchased pay-per-view event in the company’s history.
“We broke all our records on Saturday night,” White said. “It was the biggest PPV we ever did…
“We were number one on all broadcast and cable, you know, from 8-10 in every of the major demographics. You name it, we broke the record on Saturday night. It was incredible.”
For what it’s worth, it was actually the second biggest but, you get the idea. The main event at UFC 196 was a non-title welterweight bout and it ended up as the second-highest UFC pay-per-view of all time. Because of Conor.
UFC 196 took in $8.1 million at the gate alone. To put that into context, neither pay-per-view events on either side of 196 even broke the $2.5 million mark.
The level of intrigue that Conor has brought to the UFC and the world of MMA as a whole is undeniable and, over the past six months in particular, many had begun to wonder if the ‘Notorious’ was in fact becoming bigger than the very promotion he fights for.
Months ago, with speculation mounting that the featherweight champion’s relationship with the UFC top brass was drastically deteriorating, an article on Pundit Arena described the precarious situation as follows;
With the Irishman’s rise now similar to that of Icarus, we can only hope he doesn’t end up flying too close to the sun.
And here we are. In an effort to remind Conor of his place in the pecking order, the UFC have cast him aside and, for the time being at least, disowned him. Metaphorically speaking, McGregor’s finally been burned.
But should he really care?
Three things at this point seem certain; Conor is still determined to fight Nate Diaz, Nate Diaz is still determined to fight Conor, while Dana White and the Fertitta’s will not put the Irishman back on the UFC 200 card under any circumstances.
In a lame effort to show the Irishman who’s boss, the UFC have become the hypothetical immovable object trying to stand in the way of the unstoppable force that is Conor McGregor.
And make no mistake about it, at this point in his career, with the momentum and level of intrigue that McGregor has gathered behind him, the ‘Notorious’ Irishman truly is unstoppable.
Speaking at the UFC 200 press conference, Dana White stated that it is very possible that the featherweight champion could fight at UFC 201 and, with Nate Diaz in wait, it now seems as if the highly anticipated rematch has not been cancelled, it has simply been postponed.
A number of MMA pundits have come out in recent days criticising McGregor’s decision to publicly take on the UFC. Some have even called the Irishman ‘dumb’ and dismissed him as a ’27-year-old kid’ who has now been made a fool of.
But who exactly is going to look stupid when UFC 201 makes more money than 200, the mammoth event that the promotion has been hyping up for close to a year?
Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier will now headline the July the 9th event in the absence of McGregor. Jon Jones is without doubt one of the promotion’s biggest stars with the controversial American already having headlined 12 UFC events at just 29 years of age.
However, if you were wondering how Jones stacks up against the Irishman, the total gate for all 12 of his events combined totals $26.2 million. Conor McGregor has brought in $28.14 million at the gate in just 5 events.
Conor needn’t say another word. The numbers do all the talking. 200 is a number that simply labels an event. In this business, the only numbers that really matter have dollar signs in front of them.
Some people believe that the UFC have already won this battle. They haven’t. When Conor McGregor fights again, UFC 201, 202, 203… it doesn’t matter. He will bring in more money than 200, and very possibly, more than the UFC have seen in any previous event in their history.
In an effort to remind the watching world who is in control, the UFC have actually provided their ‘Notorious’ star with a platform to confirm his irrefutable power.
What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? The unstoppable force simply skips over it, and keeps on going.
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